An Garda Síochána and the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) have warned pubs in Dublin to ensure they are following the reopening guidelines, following reports that the ‘substantial meal’ requirement is being flouted.
Under Phase 3 of the Government’s reopening roadmap, which took effect on Monday 29th June, pubs are allowed to open if they serve a ‘substantial meal’ to patrons to the value of at least €9. A separate meal must be provided to each individual who is drinking alcohol. The guidance was previously issued by Fáilte Ireland.
Other requirements include that patrons cannot spend more than 105 minutes in a pub, and a social distance of at least one metre, in some cases two, must be kept at all times.
However there have been numerous reports of people staying in pubs beyond the 105 minute limit, as well as reports of pubs not insisting on a substantial meal being served.
In a joint statement, the LVA and An Garda Siochána have said that pubs who disregard the guidelines may receive an objection to their licence when it comes up for renewal.
As well, An Garda Síochána have said they will be inspecting licensed premises to ensure public order is maintained.
Gardaí have not been given additional powers to close pubs deemed to be in breach of the guidelines but could use public order egislation to ensure compliance.
“An Garda Síochána will continue to work with the trade in this unprecedented situation,” said Anne Marie Cagney, Assistant Commissioner, Dublin Metropolitan Region. “We will seek to engage and encourage all businesses to follow the guidelines and to do the right thing. We will also be undertaking inspections to ensure pubs are respecting the guidelines. Our role is to maintain public order and if there are indications that any such problems are arising we will intervene.”
The Assistant Commissioner’s remarks were echoed by Donall O’Keeffe of the LVA. “Severe enforcement action will be taken against those rogue operators who blatantly disregard the health of their staff and customers, up to potentially losing their licence. Any disregard for public health will be a key consideration when it comes to licence renewals, a process which the authorities are keenly aware all pubs will be subjected to this coming September,” Mr. O’Keeffe said.